JASON Hoffman wondered whether he would ever score a goal in the A-League.
Yesterday the 20-year-old netted two inside 23 minutes to set the Jets on the path to their 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix in the season opener at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
After failing to hit the target in 20 A-League appearances, Hoffman got the Jets off to a flying start.
He produced a neat chip to put the home side ahead in the 12th minute and was on hand 11 minutes later to slot the ball home after Wellington keeper Mark Paston had parried a shot from Song Jin-hyung.
Hoffman's efforts looked to have been in vain when Ben Sigmund (26th minute) and Chris Greenacre (43rd) hit back to level the scores at half-time.
But with four minutes remaining substitute Jason Naidovski headed home Sean Rooney's cross to earn the Jets a well-deserved victory.
"It was fantastic to get on the scoreboard," Hoffman said.
"I have had chances before but to finally get it done was great."
Hoffman was used predominantly as a winger by previous coach Gary van Egmond.
But Branko Culina had other ideas after the Young Socceroo scored the winner against Ulsan in June to send the Jets into the final 16 of the Asian Champions League.
"I did not know much about Jason until the game against Ulsan," Culina said.
"We had a bit of a chat at the airport. I told him he was going to be a wonderful player but he needed to be a bit more composed.
"That was something he can work on. Composure is all to do with practice, knowledge and confidence."
Hoffman plays a similar role for the Young Socceroos and after Hoffman scored a goal and won a penalty during the tour of South America a fortnight ago, Culina had no hesitation in playing him alongside Sasho Petrovski yesterday.
"I told him, 'You are ready to play up front. You will create chances and you will score goals'," Culina said.
Hoffman could have had a hat-trick but pushed a header wide in the second half.
"I will take confidence out of tonight," Hoffman said. "But there were still a few chances I had as well.
"It is something I have to keep working on."
The win was the Jets' first on the opening day of the season and brought an end to a string of three draws and a loss.
But they nearly paid the price for two mistakes.
Chris Triantis, who was otherwise outstanding on debut, failed to pick up Ben Sigmund, who headed home Leo Bertos's free kick.
Two minutes from half-time goalkeeper Ben Kennedy let Chris Greenacre's shot squeeze under his body after Jets captain Matt Thompson had turned over possession near half way.
"I thought both goals were very ordinary," Culina said.
"Sigmund was left unmarked, which was a problem, because we had worked on that.
"The second goal, I told the boys: we don't play football in the final five minutes [of the half].
"We gave the ball away unnecessarily in the middle of the park. Ben probably could have done better as well.
"Two soft goals but it is a good sign that in spite of that, we can come back.
"That is a sign of a decent side."